Players Need to be Backed to Bring Out Performances: Babar Azam

ISLAMABAD, Oct 29 (APP): Pakistan’s limited-overs Skipper Babar Azam believes players needed to be backed as to bring out their performances, saying we would try to give 110 percent in the series against Zimbabwe beginning Friday.

“My philosophy is that if you support and back your players then they will give their 110 percent effort for you. We have included youngsters and will try to play a good combination of youngsters and seniors”, he said in the pre-series video conference on Thursday.

Babar said we have kept Usman Qadir instead of leg-spinner Shadab Khan who had suffered from stiffness in his left upper-leg during the first intra-squad warm-up match in Lahore. The young prolific batsman said we were involved in the domestic tournament prior to the Zimbabwe series which had boosted the confidence and would try to start and finish well in the series.

“Currently the focus is on the ODI series and when the Twenty20s will come we will see to that. This is a very important series and you can’t take Zimbabwe or any international team easy. Zimbabwe has got good experienced side and we will try to give our best”, he said adding that this was his first ODI series for which he would try to utilise his T20 experience in the ODIs.

To a question, he said Haider Ali and Abdullah Shafiq have a bright future and both of them have different type of techniques.

“Haider plays aggressively whereas Abdullah takes time to get set and then plays his natural game and tries to dominate. We have got outstanding youngsters and I will back them and whatever I have learned from my seniors I will pass it on to them”, he said.

Speaking about his goals he said it was good if you go step by step as planning depends on the situation and conditions from series to series.

“We will play against Zimbabwe like we take on England and Australia and we have given the message to the boys not to relax and give their best in the game”, he said.

The Lahore-born cricketer said he was missing the fans as there was so much excitement when the crowd cheer-up for the players. “Unfortunately due to the COVID19, fans aren’t allowed in the stadiums but hopefully things will get better”, he said.

Speaking about the bio-secure bubble due to the COVID19 pandemic, he said the facilities here are the same as they were on the England tour.

“Players are happy and enjoying and there is no stress at all. We will try to give chance to the youngsters Khushdil Shah, Usman Qadir and Zafar Gohar”, he said.

He also named Pakistan’s 15-member squad for first ODI against Zimbabwe on Friday at Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi. The players include Imam ul Haq, Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (captain), Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Musa Khan. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s Skipper Chamu Chibhabha said after playing for couple of years and with the bit of experience it was the perfect time for him to lead the team.

“Hopefully we will have a really good series against Pakistan. Over the years we have been a team that doesn’t really quite get over the line but it’s something we have talked about. In the squad there is a lot more desperation to win and that is the mentality at the moment and considering the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League every game is curial for us”, he said.

To a question, he said the guys were more excited about playing and not about the bio-secure bubble due to the COVID19 pandemic.

“I think it’s fantastic the super league is a blessing and it also gives us an opportunity that if you play really good cricket then you can qualify for the World Cup.”

“We are separated from our families, it kind of bonds us as a team because it’s all we have here. Mostly the time we celebrate play games and spending a lot of time together, so it is good from the team’s point of view”, he said.

Speaking about the preparations, he said we would try to put the Pakistani bowlers’ under-pressure and play aggressively because if you see the ODI cricket the scores have been ranging around 300 and 300 plus so those were the targets we were looking to set. About the security arrangements in Pakistan, he said the security is amazing and we have nothing to worry about.

“The only thing we need to be focusing on is cricket. I have never been looked after like I have been looked in Pakistan. It’s safe to play cricket here and the hospitality is amazing there is not really anything to worry about. We are having a good time and there haven’t been any complaints at all”, he said.

He said his team is a balanced side having youngsters and experienced players.

“If you look at our tour in 2015 we did reasonably well but we didn’t do enough to win the game. The emphasis is on guys putting up performances to get us over the line.” Chamu said the wicket at Rawalpindi looks like a really good batting wicket. “There is a bit dust on it but it looks like a batter friendly wicket so the runs on the board will be crucial”, he said.

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